Tag Archives: Operation Desert Storm

Essay: Strategies That Matter — One Size Fits None

Essay: Strategies That Matter — One Size Fits None

Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk over Iraq. US Air Force Photo

Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk over Iraq. US Air Force Photo

Airpower advocates exited the Gulf War trumpeting an unambiguous victory for airpower—and they were right. The air campaign against Iraq was well planned, brilliantly tailored to the adversary, and superbly executed. But it was also a clear example where the enemy was outclassed from the very beginning. Coalition forces were allowed an unfettered buildup, and had clear advantages in numbers, training, equipment and a doctrine designed to defeat massed Soviet and Soviet-client forces under adverse conditions. They faced a surrounded enemy who allowed the Coalition force to seize the initiative (despite ample warning) and keep it throughout the conflict. The Iraqi military at the time was postured to lose, and lose big. Read More

Essay:  Strategies That Matter – Why Targets That Matter,  Don’t

Essay: Strategies That Matter – Why Targets That Matter, Don’t

A B-2 Stealth Bomber from Whiteman AFB in Missouri leads an aerial flight formation with F-18 Hornets from the during exercise Valiant Shield 2006. US Navy Photo

A B-2 Stealth Bomber from Whiteman AFB in Missouri leads an aerial flight formation with F-18 Hornets from the during exercise Valiant Shield 2006. US Navy Photo

In 1954, U.S. Representative W. Sterling Cole, chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, announced what had been suspected: that the U.S. Air Force could deliver an H-bomb anywhere in the world. Hardly a revelation, this boast since has been echoed for more than half a century. Indeed, Air Force talking points regularly repeat a version of this theme: We can hold any target at risk anywhere in the world in any time, any place. This idea is deeply embedded in the Air Force’s transformation efforts, as an aspirational statement became a “requirement” and thereby a justification for airpower capabilities. “Any target, any time, any place” is a centerpiece of service dogma, offered in place of coherent airpower strategy. Unfortunately, that means very little for the nation’s air, space and cyber power entrusted to the Air Force. A capability is not a strategy, and can’t be substituted for one. It’s strategy that matters. Read More